Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Blog: 2011 - Flop show, 2012 - Better, hope so!

My last good run is about 15 days ago.  The quarter end pressures are eating into my early morning plans and late evenings.   I reach home tired, and sleep it off.  Between a run and sleep, sleep wins hands down.   Well, it is an excuse for not running.  

Auroville 2011 was my
only race
My cycle idles, dusty at the corner of the car- park.  I was planning to be a tri-athlete.   About 1000 miles of cycling and 1000 miles of running come to just 500 km of running.  I would end up 50% of my planned mileage this year.

Has my running appetite dropped?  No.   I enjoy whenever I am out there.  Just that it is not happening.   My mileage over the last three weeks have been in single digits.  Shame, disgusting.

My only race for the year was the Auroville 2011 Half.   After that, I just vanished of the running map.   Like I said, I whittle the distances to single digits.   Bad habits crept in.  Well, yes.

And somehow this is reflecting in this year's performance.    I seem to whittle away tiny crumbs of success at work and at the miles on the road.   No major success this year.   Is running reflecting life?

The midnight with the Mumbai
Elite gave some hope towards the year end
From September to November, it was a bottomless pit.
Towards end of November and beginning of December, things started looking up.   Better results at work ( not sure if it is a mirage yet) and two near-half marathon distances.

2012 is going to be a tough year.  I am not a doomsayer, but market and the effects of this year's performance would reflect.   As you sow, so you reap, right? 

My resolution is going to be simple and am going to measure running mileage every week.  1000 km of running and 500 km of cycling.  It will be pure mileage and some key races. 

I may run the Mumbai Marathon thanks to a friend and have registered for the Auroville.  And take it from there.

Thanks everyone for the support during this flop show of 2011 - the toughest in my life.   Atleast, let me mentally prepared for another tough 2012 ahead.  Who knows, right?

- The One

( Pic Courtesy The One)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The keystrokes follow the footsteps... the story of the runner-writer...

Actually difficult.   To run an esoteric runner blog - musings, huh!

One has to rely on borrowed experiences, the reason d'etre, the accessories, the sky and the moon to write.   Actually, the quality of writing dips and deteriorates, as one has to find a topic and dig dirt around it.   The topic itself can be as abstract as it can get.   The writing can be from ramble to research.  

The best writings, I have seen, are from friends who have run their first races or who have rich experience, running across cities, countries and even continents.  

Blogs can be about experiences, expertise,
injuries, training, technique, diets...
 Most runners want to just run.   Few of them love to write - narrating such rich experiences, which takes the reader on a vicarious experience along with the runner - to share the difficult, pain, agony and ecstasy of the journey towards the finish line.

The lines about the preparation, the host city and community, fellow runners, the crowds, the course, weather, the ceremonies... all add pepper and salt to the narrative.  Add pics and videos to that, it is the recording of one's achievement of a lifetime.

Amit Sheth's dare to run
is rich in content and eloquent in narration
 My first 10K in Bangalore World 10k- 2008, and my first half marathon in Chennai -2010 were awesome experiences to write and share.

Further, couple of great runner blogs - Trails of passion by Navin Sadarangani and It's all on top by Naresh Kumar, both ex-Chennai runners, but moved to the west.  They are taking down each milestone, brick and brick and it is so inspiring to follow their story.

To enjoy the real 360` experience in running, read my dear friend Amit Sheth's dare to run... one race to run, a lifetime experience to tell.

I have also been reading the first marathon / half marathon experiences in the Chennai Runner group website, such rich content, nicely delivered - reflects the conviction of the maiden writer.  Each one  is so unique.   One such narrative really dipped into the running quotes and matched experiences against it.  An awesome piece.

The journey writers - who grow from the 10k to an ultra marathon.  The travelogues - from the traveller-runners who criss-cross continents to run marathon in every corner of the world.

Some people are just number people - who discuss cadence, elevation, speed, pace, time, personal bests, distance, innumberable derivatives of calories, BMI's ...

Boston calling:  The best narratives are first hand experiences
Then the pros.   The people who can talk about the do's and don'ts with authority, and the experts who can dwelve on the training plans and the techniques.   The toe vs heel landing, the barefoot vs shoe running, the trail vs road running, running in the cold vs the humid weather, interval training, hill training.

Another set of writers do write about diets, carb-loading, race preps,  breathing techniques, stretching techniques,  how to improve speed, core exercises and post-race recoveries.

Another specific area of interest is about injury prevention and recovery.   Situations that can cause an injury and how to recuperate.

The midnight run: One run, and a lifetime story to tell
For me, running is about lot of things.  A catharsis, a remedy, an identity, an achievement.   All the above variations and specialities make one richer in knowledge and experience.  

But nothing like experiencing oneself.  Without the actual event, the typical narrative becomes fiction.   The conviction to write is that bit lesser.   The effort is more.  

So much for this blog.   Just run, and you can write better about running.   The keystrokes follow the footsteps...

- The One

Pics courtesy The One, Internet...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mid-week blog : Running - the only reality in the illusion called life...

Caught in space-time warp,
life is an illusion
At mid-thirties,  there is enough of ups, downs, drowns to b*t(h about...  you think that this is gonna be your worst day, but the next day can be worse than that.   You pass through blinding sunlight and temporary shades,  blue skies that remind you of the desert and the depressing gray some other day.   Life is an illusion that plays hide and seek in the space-time warp. 

The finish line and the next toe landing
in running is reality
What you think is reality is an illusion another day.   One event somewhere in the world is a statistic or a news-bite for most others living far from the event - lost in the back pages of a newspaper or a snippet in a prime time show on telly.  That is because we ourselves are immersed in the clear and present issues that confront our fickle lives, and we have fickle memories.
Such is the illusion of life.  

Running, a basic act of alternate steps and flailing arms - also gets into the same illusive bandwagon - you measure time, and you measure distance.  

As they say, past is history and future is mystery; the present is here and now. But unlike life, in running, the end is known - the finish line is the future.   Knowledge of the finish line, is therefore reality and the present - the step that you take, is clear, present and real.  

In our lingo they say - 'sab mayaa hai, (everything is an illusion)'.   Well, except running. 

-The One

(Pics Courtesy Internet)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Running - simple complications, simplified...

Lol!  How come running became complicated?  Roll back to the first year of your child, or if you are yet to have one, to your own childhood or your nephew's or niece's.  How excited one was, to see the little kid crawl, stutter into a walk and after sometime break into a run! 

Running brings joy to the kid, the parent and the on-looker.   Running, to a child is akin to flying,  a means of reaching the impossibility, an outburst of joy.   A simple movement of legs, and flailing arms makes up the innocuous action of running.  

Any outdoor sport involves running - from hide and seek to cricket, football to hockey. Every field and every street in the neighbourhood is taken over by kids who play, and therefore run.  

Years pass.   Suddenly, we become office goers, professionals and so forth.  Tired minds and souls, after a tired day, navigating traffic, reach homes late in the night.   Many worries in the mind, so add sleepless nights to that.   Again, get up just in time to start another day.

Running suddenly means business.   Serious business, and that thing we call  'life'.   Breathless cacophony from dawn to dusk.   Loss of sleep, pot bellies, obesity, diabetes, stress, lack of fitness and form are by-products.

Doctors exhort us to exercise.  Somebody suggests, 'why don't you run?'.   That sounds unfamiliar!   Or distantly familiar?

How did running become complicated? Two decades later,  running is reborn. But one needs reasons to run!  And NOT to run!  Huh?!! 

Reasons make running complicated.    It was complicated to start.   Getting to the shoe rack was complicated.   Getting up early in the morning, finding time was complicated.

Once the reasons are removed, it is simple, like our childhood days!

Just run - so simple, no more complicated!!!

-The One

Pics courtesy Internet